Yes, you read that correctly. Crazy, right? Well, not really.
The idea that women should not work out during pregnancy is pretty outdated, and quite frankly, insane.
Since I started telling people I was expecting, one of the most common questions I get is, “So you’re not doing crossfit anymore, right?” Um, wrong. The American Council of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) actually recommends exercise during pregnancy as long as it’s an activity you were doing before you got knocked up.
Using common sense, we know that there are some activities which are not safe during pregnancy. Basically anything with a risk of falling from a height or contact sport is off limits.
And if you’re doing an activity, like crossfit, there are some movements to avoid, such as rope climbs, high box jumps, and ab exercises.
In reality, it all depends on the woman’s proficiency level. I was a gymnast for several years and will be doing handstands until the baby comes out.
There are also some women who should not work out during pregnancy like those with:
- Placenta previa
- Incompetent cervix
- And some women expecting multiples
These women are considered high risk. If you are low risk, there is absolutely no reason that you cannot continue your normal workout routine while you’re expecting! Mic drop.
Being a prenatal and pediatric chiropractor, I have always recommended a regular exercise routine for my pregnant moms, as do the OB’s and midwives I frequently work with.
Most women will come to me during pregnancy because they want to feel good and make sure their pelvis is aligned properly by the time baby comes. Working out combined with chiropractic adjustments is the best possible thing you can do for a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I’ve seen first hand countless women go through shorter and easier labors just by adding these two regimens during their prenatal period.
One of my biggest annoyances during pregnancy is people treating me like I’m a fragile princess. I find it hilarious when people tell me not to pick things up or carry something heavy. Do you know how much I lift at the gym, bro? I could deadlift you, calm down.
With that said, when people gasp in horror at the idea of me throwing around a barbell while carrying my precious munchkin in my womb, these are the logical, common sense, and scientific reasons I give them.
1. Control Weight Gain
Let’s be honest, one of the biggest psychological hurdles for women during pregnancy is weight gain. Maybe not for all women, but for most.
I am not one of those people who can eat whatever I want and maintain my normal weight. I have to work hard everyday to stay healthy by eating clean food in proper portions and maintaining a moderate to high activity level.
Weight loss is one of the reasons I began working out in the first place (isn’t it for most people?), but as I reached a certain level of fitness, it became a way of life.
And just because you are pregnant does not mean you are disabled!
It’s also not an excuse to be lazy and eat whatever you want.
Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, you may only gain 15 – 20 lbs throughout your pregnancy, and that’s OK. Talk to your OB or midwife about what YOUR expected weight gain should be to remain healthy. It’s going to be different for every woman.
For me, the weight gain has been a real fear. How much weight will I gain? Will I be able to lose the baby weight easily? What if I can’t? These are questions that go through my head daily, as I’m sure it does for other preggos. While the goal for exercising during pregnancy is NOT weight loss, it can be to maintain and control your inevitable weight gain.
If you are on the lighter side, you may gain more weight and if you are on the heavier side you may gain less weight. There is no right or wrong weight until you get above that 40 pound mark since it can bring on real health risks for you and the baby. Your risks for gestational diabetes and macrosomia (large baby) increase significantly after forty pounds.
My goal when working out is to control how much I’m gaining week by week. Since I’m continuing to lift weights, I will still be gaining lean muscle and that’s ok!! Remember that weight gain is not just the baby growing, but extra blood volume, placenta, breast milk, and other fun additions to your amazing feminine body.
Working out during pregnancy can help you psychologically stay within your goal weight, which will help you get back to your normal weight after the baby is born.
2. Feel Good
If you’re like me, and 99% of pregnant women, your first trimester was not a walk in the park.
It was really difficult for me to keep up with my fitness routine in the first trimester because of the increased blood volume and decreased lung capacity. I felt like a kid with asthma and the bullies stole my inhaler, I just couldn’t breathe.
Even though it was hard, I kept showing up (well at least 2-3 x per week!) and pacing myself to get through it. Let me tell you, it paid off!
During my first trimester I only had about 2 weeks of really bad nausea. There were other times when it would come on and go if I ate something weird or let myself get too hungry. But for the most part, the first trimester was not so bad and I attribute that to my dedicated work out schedule!
Moving on to the 2nd and 3rd trimester, as the baby is growing other symptoms could start to appear such as back pain, ankle swelling, fatigue, and poor posture. There are other things that can help with this, like getting adjusted by a chiropractor.
Not only does it help you feel better, but it helps keep your pelvis aligned so that you can continue your activities with little to no pain or discomfort.
Working out during pregnancy will increase oxygen flow to your muscles and also help reduce these unwanted symptoms!
It can also improve your mood and energy level (we all know how much energy that baby sucks out of you!).
Exercise increases oxygen EVERYWHERE in your body, including your brain. So not only will exercise help you physically, but it will help you mentally as well.
And if you’re a working woman like me, you need the gym as a stress relief! It baffles me when anyone tells me they don’t have a regular exercise routine, how do they release stress? I do it by lifting heavy stuff. It’s been working really well for me so far.
3. Increase Stamina During Labor
Labor is a marathon, not a sprint. As an OB friend of mine likes to say, “it’s the longest WOD!” (For you non-crossfitters out there, WOD = Workout of the Day. Now you can sound cool for knowing the lingo).
If you’re like me, you’re starting to get nervous about labor. There are so many different methods you can do to help with natural pain relief such as hypnobirthing and breathing techniques.
However, women who workout have more physical and mental stamina than those who don’t. After all, we’re already used to performing high intensity workouts for long periods of time, which believe it or not, is what labor is! If you’ve ever done Murph, then you know what I’m talking about.
When you get into active labor, your most intense contractions will last about one minute. One minute!!!! At first that may sound like a really short period of time, but if you’ve ever held a plank for one minute, you know that it can really drag by. But guess what? If you worked out during pregnancy, your physical and mental game is going to help you get through that minute.
Remember: you’ve done this before, girl!! You’ve sat there and looked at the clock as the last 10 seconds seem like an eternity. But when it’s over, it’s over!! You can relax, breath, and prepare for the next one.
For women who don’t work out, this is a shock to their system. They have no muscle or brain memory and their bodies often freeze up and don’t know what to do.
YOUR body, however, remembers this from doing that plank, hollow hold, or an intense wod like Fran or Grace. It’s grueling, but you KNOW you can do it. You’ve done it before and you can do it again because this time the goal is not rock hard abs or to beat your previous time, the goal is a healthy baby. And you, mama bear, will do anything to keep your baby healthy.
4. Benefits for Baby
Studies show that women who engage in moderate to high intensity exercise during pregnancy will increase oxygen flow to their baby. Do you know what that means? It means your baby will get more nutrients from you, Mom, helping them grow into a healthy happy little person. It will help them handle the trauma of going through the birth canal and it can affect how they adapt to the world in the first few hours after birth. This is so important.
Not only will working out help control your weight gain, but it also helps control your baby’s weight gain too. When it comes to babies, we don’t want them to be too small or too big.
Working out during pregnancy ensures that your baby will grow at the correct rate and will decrease the likelihood of complications and interventions during labor and delivery. Exercising during pregnancy can even help your baby after he is born because he already has all that oxygen in his brain which helps him develop optimally. Babies are less likely to have colic and other health issues when Mom works out during pregnancy. That’s a win win right there.
5. Faster Recovery
Recovery post-labor is super important. If you don’t recover properly, it’s going to be that much harder to take care of your baby. Having a newborn is challenging enough, so why make it any tougher on yourself?
When women work out during pregnancy, their bodies are used to recovering from high intensity activities (i.e. BIRTH). Your body has a memory and it remembers how to heal you efficiently and properly.
I know women who have been back at the gym 4-5 weeks after their baby is born, with their practitioner’s permission of course.
Now, again, every woman is different, but, if you’re physically strong, this will help you get back to the gym and help you achieve your pre-pregnancy fitness level faster. That’s a huge goal for me!
One of my biggest obstacles with my pregnancy so far has been scaling back on weight. I just want to lift heavy!! I’m still lifting a moderate amount of weight, but usually about 10-20 lbs than what I would normally lift. Am I still getting a good workout? Um, yes. Will I get a PR on my clean and jerk while pregnant? No. You’ve got to check your ego at the door.
Once the baby is born, I know that it will only take me a few months to get back to where I was because I plan to work out until the very end, as long as my body can physically handle it.
Whether you are doing crossfit, yoga, spinning, running, or walking, this will all help you during your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period.
All women are different so be sure to consult with your OB or midwife before performing any activities while pregnant, but as long as you are low risk and not prescribed bed rest, you should be able to maintain a healthy fitness level.
I’m not an elite athlete by any means. I am just an average girl who likes to sweat. But I value my health and my baby’s health, which is why I made the choice to continue my exercise routine throughout my pregnancy. If I can do it, you can too!
As someone who’s grown up right here in south Florida, I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors. To me, there’s nothing better than going outside on a nice sunny day just to soak up the warmth beaming from the sun. Of course, I can’t always stay outside for too long (especially when the temperatures are somewhat unbearable…hello summer!), but I do try to get out for at least 15 minutes a day or more.
And when I do get the opportunity to sneak away from the office, I usually do so without sunscreen. I can hear the virtual gasps now! Yep, you heard that correctly. As a doctor, I enjoy going outside without sunscreen sometimes.
Now, after speaking with a patient of mine, I realized that this may sound strange to some. In fact, this is the reaction that I usually get from people when I tell them I don’t always wear sunscreen: “Aren’t you worried about skin cancer? Shouldn’t you wear sunscreen everyday or at least anytime you’re out in the sun? I’m so confused now!”
And the answer to this is two fold: no, you don’t always need sunscreen, but, that doesn’t mean you should never wear it. Okay, so I know this may be confusing at this point so, to clear things up, I’ve decided to spend time today addressing this issue of whether or not sunscreen is really all that necessary.
Let’s dive in.
The Sun Gives Us a Vitamin that We Absolutely Need to Thrive
You may or may not already be familiar with vitamin D. Maybe you’ve heard your doctor mention it before or maybe you’ve even heard about it with regards to the sun.
Vitamin D is a special vitamin, and it’s a tricky one for us to obtain. See, unlike other vitamins, it’s hard for us to get enough of this powerful boost from the foods we eat or even from a multivitamin. Sure, your multivitamin may contain it, but most of us actually need more than the recommended daily allowance.
On top of that, vitamin D is better absorbed through our skin than if we were to take it orally so your multivitamin may not be delivering as much of the RDA as promised on the label.
And if that wasn’t enough, the vitamin D found in foods is usually a negligible amount at best.
This is where the dilemma comes in: if we can’t obtain it from the foods we eat and our multivitamins may not be enough, what are we supposed to do?
I’m glad you asked!
The best way for us to get enough vitamin D is to get outdoors and soak up the sun sans sunscreen. Yes, you heard correctly, without sunscreen.
You see, vitamin D does not come directly from the sun’s rays. Rather, once the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit our skin, it causes our bodies to synthesize vitamin D naturally. This is how we obtain the all important vitamin. But, when we wear protective sunscreen (even as low as 8 SPF), this natural process is blocked. So the ultraviolet rays don’t pass through our skin and as a result the body doesn’t synthesize the vitamin D as it should.
The problem is, without vitamin D, we’re in for some trouble.
Vitamin D Deficiency is a Serious Thing
To give you an idea, vitamin D is specifically connected to our bone health, immunity and our hormone productions.
Yet, as Dr. Mercola points out, roughly 85% of us are not getting enough of this vitamin. Dr. Mercola continues on to say that, “Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and autism.”
And if that wasn’t enough, WebMd also tells us that, “Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies.”
As you can see, we need vitamin D. Without it, we’re risking much more serious conditions.
Is This a Classic Catch-22?
On the one hand, if you wear sunscreen, you’ll lose out on obtaining enough vitamin D which means you lose the all important benefits from it which could increase your risks for certain cancers.
Yet, on the flipside, if you’re exposed to too much sun without protection, you could also increase your risks of certain cancers.
So what’s the solution here?
For short term fun in the sun (let’s say an hour or less), it’s best to go out without sunscreen.
Ideally, you should spend at least 15 minutes outside every day without sunscreen. This is the sweet spot for absorbing your daily recommended allowance of vitamin D without going overboard.
Now, if you’re planning on a full day of sun (think: at least two hours or more), you’ll want to use protection after you’ve soaked up some of the powerful sun rays (after 15-30 minutes have passed).
Keep This in Mind When Using Sunscreen:
But, to be clear, not all sunscreen is safe for us. In fact, many are packed with chemical fillers that are actually harmful to our health. These chemicals can impact things like your hormones, allergies, thyroid, and other important systems.
At that point, if you’re using sunscreen with harmful chemicals in it, you could be doing more harm than good.
So before you go applying the sunscreen you have at your home already, check out WebMd’s list of harmful ingredients in sunscreen to avoid.
And, if you really want to be safe and protected, try this DIY natural sunscreen from the team over at Mind Body Green.
What Else Can You Do to Stay Protected?
Some of the best advice I’ve found when it comes to staying protected while still taking in enough vitamin D is:
- Avoid the sun during peak hours (11am- 4pm)
- Cover up during peak hours
- Get your vitamin D dose early in the morning (just after sunrise and before 11)
- Try eating more foods that offer natural sun protection
Despite what you may have heard, it’s essential that you enjoy some sunscreen-free time in the sun in order to get enough vitamin D each day. And, if you plan on staying outside for awhile, don’t forget to use a safe sunscreen that isn’t packed with harmful chemicals.
Now it’s time to get outside! We’ll see you next time!
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“6.4 million American children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD,” according to a recent article in Healthline.
And if that statistic wasn’t alarming enough, Healthline continues on to say that “Males are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females,” and we’re currently experiencing a “42% increase in ADHD diagnoses over the past 8 years.”
Now, that’s not to say that it’s all bad news when it comes to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. With this rise in prevalence, more research has been conducted to understand what’s really going on and natural (yet effective) methods of treating ADHD have emerged as a result.
So to help you understand more about ADHD, including what signs to look for in your child, I’ll be discussing everything you need to know in today’s article. Towards the end, I’ll even cover one of the most effective (drug-free) treatment options available.
What is ADHD?
Before we jump in, it’s important to understand what exactly ADHD is first.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has been characterized as a mental (or brain) disorder. Essentially, the brain of someone with ADHD is firing impulses at a “hyperactive” (more activity than normal) rate. With these impulses firing so rapidly, normal functioning and development are disrupted.
What are the Common Signs of ADHD?
On the surface, you may notice symptoms in your child such as inattention or a lack of focus. You may also find that your child has a hard time sitting still and tends to fidget instead.
The last common symptom of ADHD is impulsivity. In someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, decisions are made in a hasty manner without consideration for repercussions. Oftentimes, this can be in the form of things like interrupting or taking something such as a toy from someone without asking for permission.
Here’s What Else You Need to Know
Some less common signs include allergies, asthma, and acid reflux as a baby. I know this may come as a surprise to many parents, but, these less common symptoms should be viewed as warning signs that something more is going on internally. These could also be an indication of other autism spectrum disorders as well so it’s best to have your child checked early if you notice these symptoms.
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to key milestones such as crawling and primitive reflexes.
What to Look for When Your Baby Starts Crawling
Around 6-10 months, you’ll notice that your little one has that itch to start crawling and begins the process of moving on their own.
In normal development, your child would progress from belly crawling (or combat crawling) to crawling on all fours (hand/knee crawling). After some practice, your baby would begin to develop what’s known as a “contra-lateral pattern of movement” which means as the right hand moves forward, so does the left knee. This pattern is then repeated on the opposite side (left hand moves forward as right knee advances).
However, in abnormal crawling situations, children are unable to make this connection and often rely on one side of the body more than the other. For example, you may notice your child is moving their right hand and knee forward yet their left hand and left knee lag behind.
If you also notice your child prefers to bear crawl (hands and feet are to the floor instead of hands and knees on the ground) or scoots their bottom and propels themselves forward using their hands, it’s a good idea to have them checked. These could be indications that something more is amiss.
What About Primitive Reflexes?
Primitive reflexes are essentially a natural response to stimuli that newborns are innately born with. Examples include the hand-to-mouth reflex of sucking on their fingers, hands or thumb, the rooting reflex which is associated with breastfeeding and the palmar grasp reflex which allows babies to grab on to items that are placed in their hands.
As the frontal lobe in the brain develops and infants progress to early childhood, most newborns normally grow out of using these reflexes. This usually happens during 6-12 months with many babies growing out of these reflexes by their first birthday.
On the flip side, if a primitive reflex is held onto for longer than this timeframe, it could have neurological consequences. Essentially, the brain’s signals are being interfered with. This confuses the body which makes it difficult for it to respond as it should.
How to Improve (or Eliminate) Symptoms of ADHD or Autism Spectrum
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it’s not all bad news here. Thanks to extensive amounts of research, scientists have identified an effective yet natural way to improve or eliminate symptoms of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder: chiropractic care.
In this case study, a five-year old boy had been diagnosed with ADHD at the tender age of 2. Since his diagnosis, his doctor put him on a prescription of Ritalin, Adderall, and Haldol which he remained on for a period of three years.
Unfortunately, this combination of medicine proved to be ineffective in his treatment and the boy was brought to a chiropractor by the time he was 5 years old.
After answering a few questions, the child’s mother revealed that she experienced complications during childbirth and, as a result, the boy endured a 4-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.
As routine procedure, the chiropractor took a series of x-rays to see what was really going on. It turns out, the child did have a severe subluxation and spinal distortion.
The chiropractor recommended that the child be seen for routine visits to correct the problem.
By the 12th visit, the mother explained that she could see noticeable (positive) differences in her son’s behavior. She continued with this treatment for her son and mentioned that by her 27th visit, her son had a considerable improvement.
Excited by these results, the mother took her child in for a follow up with their primary medical doctor who deemed that the boy was no longer exhibiting symptoms of ADHD and that he could safely be taken off of the medicine that he was on for the past three years.
This proved that chiropractic care can be used as a safe and effective way to improve, and, in this case, eliminate the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
ADHD Chiropractic Treatment Recommendation
If your child is experiencing any symptoms associated with ADHD or autism spectrum disorders, we encourage you to visit our office for a consultation today.
We’ve seen firsthand (and research supports this) that noticeable improvements can be seen as early as five months in children who undergo chiropractic adjustments. Of course, this length of time will depend on your child’s specific condition, which is why we encourage you to stop by for an initial consultation so we can determine the best course of action for your child.
At Live Free Chiropractic, we are fully equipped to test your child’s reflexes as well as provide the proper neurological exercises if deemed necessary.
Give our office a call today to learn more!
It may come as no surprise to some that I absolutely love Crossfit. I find that it’s one of the few workouts that I can truly push myself with.
Sure, it’s tough and grueling at times, but, for me personally, Crossfit has been nothing short of rewarding.
This past March I even mustered up the strength to compete in my first Crossfit Open. Yes, it was hard. But, it was also an amazing experience.
However, since I’ve been doing Crossfit for a few years now, I’ve found that if you’re not careful enough, you could risk injuring yourself. Now, that’s not to say that these tips are only Crossfit specific, rather, you can use this helpful advice no matter which workout program you decide to embark on.
A common question that my patients ask me is: “What type of mattress or pillow should I be using?”
And this is a great question for many reasons.
For starters, we spend ⅓ of our lives sleeping so it’s definitely important to consider how these sleep essentials could be affecting your health.
If you’re waking up feeling groggy or tired, it may be time to reevaluate your sleep situation. You should feel rested and energized after a good night’s sleep.